What exactly is Okhotsk culture, and why are they known as “elusive people”?
Evidence has shown that different culture existed along the coast of the Okhotsk Sea before the Ainu. The existence of the Okhotsk people was discovered in 1913 at the Moyoro Shell Mound, located near the mouth of the Abashiri River.
Okhotsk were a group of indigenous people consisting of Oroks (also known as Uilta) and Nivkh. They were mainly hunters, living off local fish and marine mammals, such as seals. By living in the coastal towns of Tokoro, Monbetsu, and Abashiri, they were able to source their food from the Sea of Okhotsk and spread their culture across the area. However, for unknown reasons, they vanished somewhere around the 13th century, which is why they are often referred to as “elusive people.”
Evidence of the Okhotsk culture can be found at the historical site on Lake Saroma and is known as the Tokoro Ruins. Also, the Moyoro Shell Mound Museum in Abashiri is a great place to learn about Okhotsk culture.
At the Hokkaido Museum of Northern People in Abashiri, you can see amazing crafts and traditional patterns created by the Uilta, providing insight into the lifestyle and culture of the Okhotsk People.